Musings of a Year
A year ago, my mother and I traveled across the water to the Seattle dog show and happened to meet Disney’s old breeder there. She was showing a few of her dogs there, and we got to talking- reminiscing about Disney and some of her others that had since passed. By the end of the hour, she invited me to come out and take a look at a few dogs that she was hoping to rehome to a trusted family.
Blake and I talked it over for a few days and decided to go see her and the dogs and get a feel for what we might be getting into. So, in early April, on a cold and rather damp Saturday, my parents, Blake, and myself made the journey to her kennel and met two of her clan. Ultimately, we decided on a feisty little black and white boy who was nearly 8 years old. His name was Windfall’s Travelin’ Man, an American/Canadian champion. Or, as it was shortened to, Traveler.
He still had a few shows to finish before we brought him home, so we waited patiently to bring him home. We dug out Disney’s old kennel, bought him his own dishes, toys, leashes, and everything else that we could possibly think of that we might need. I remember holding his freshly engraved tag in my palm and felt myself tear up a little, remembering when I had done the same with my old boy’s when we first brought him home. This was a new chapter and I couldn’t ignore the flutter of nervousness and excitement as we drove to pick him up.
The terms were simple. She required nothing more of us than a good home, which we were, and still are, more than happy to provide. The only caveat was that we had to have his teeth done. As most people with terriers know, teeth are not their strong suit and while he did need a few extractions, he’s been perfectly happy to gnaw on his bones and toys regardless of whether or not he has a full set of teeth.
So, as I sit here, Traveler chewing happily on his hoof treat, I find myself a little amazed and definitely glad to see how much he’s come out of his shell.
When we brought this boy home almost a year ago, I wasn’t sure what to do with him. I had originally wanted to get back into the show ring in some form or fashion, but looking at him now, I don’t think I mind if we never get there.
He knows how to play.
He’s affectionate. Okay, really, he just bounces his front feet at me enthusiastically while woofing, but still. He has a mean cuddle when he sets him mind to it.
When Blake and I first brought him home, he didn’t really know how to play, knew little to no obedience (even still, he happily strangles himself on the leash from time to time), and definitely didn’t realize that there was no reason for him to guard his food.
Slowly, but surely, we began the process of housebreaking him and while we’ve gone months without any incidents, we both keep a vigilant eye on the little troublemaker. As a former showdog, all he knew was not to make a mess in his kennel. Houses were something he didn’t know much about since he was on the road so often and he didn’t really seem to get the concept for a little while.
Bit by bit, he learned to sit and wait for his breakfast and dinner- albeit not patiently or quietly, but he knows that if he can tame the enthusiasm for a few minutes, he can go chow down uninterrupted. Initially, and every now and again still, he does resource guard. Mainly food and water, but nothing like I had expected going into it.
He was made to sound like he was a raving demon while he ate- and while that might have been true when fed around other dogs- this was not really the reality with us. Sure, I won’t deny that he eyes you a little if you walk by and eats a little quicker, but for the most part, he’s happy to just snarf his meals down. We’ve never fed our dogs together, so even with the girls, they all eat separate from one another. Bella eats in the kitchen, Xeva in her kennel or outside depending on if Traveler is at the house with them, and when he is, he eats outside (providing weather compliance). I’ve never believed that a dog should be interrupted when eating, and once he learned that no one was going to bother him at mealtime, he relaxed so much more.
Him and Grumbles though, although he is fascinated with the fluffy tail and the noises that emanate from within, are not the best of friends. Grumbles would much rather growl and hiss at him until Traveler abandons his questing about than get to know the inquisitive terrier that calls our home his now. Ah well. You can’t win them all, right? Maybe one day, when they’re both old and senile- although at 8 years, Traveler may make it there quicker than Grumbles- they’ll accept each others company.
All in all, despite his thick-headedness and stubborn terrier ways, and how ridiculously jaunty he looks with both ears standing straight up instead of neatly pricked buttons like they should be, I’m glad that we brought him home with us. I like to think that he is too.